MORE than two thirds of people who died as a result of fire in Scotland in the last five years were over 50-years-old, according to the latest statistics.
Figures also show that almost a third of all fire casualties for the same period were aged 60 or over.
The stark numbers are revealed as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service launches a national Older People Month of Action, aimed at keeping Scotland’s most vulnerable and elderly residents safe in the home.
As part of this, firefighters are ready to offer potentially lifesaving Home Fire Safety Visits.
Between 2015 and 2019, 218 people sadly lost their lives due to often preventable fires in Scotland – 149 of whom were aged 50 or over.
And for the same period, there were a total 5,862 people who became casualties after being affected by fire or smoke – 1,600 of whom were more than 60 years old.
Now, SFRS is launching a wide-ranging appeal which will run through the month of March, and reaching out to families, friends and neighbours to help ensure that older people in Scotland’s communities remain safe from harm.
Assistant Chief Officer Ross Haggart is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Director of Prevention and Protection.
He said: “It is heart breaking when a life is lost in any fire, particularly when they are often so preventable.
“It’s easy to think that fire won’t happen to you, but statistically there is potentially a house fire in Scotland every two hours.
“And it is clear to see that people who are around the age of 60 or over are most affected by serious house fires.
“As a service, we believe any fatality because of fire is one too many and our thoughts remain with every single person affected by such tragedy.
"While we will continue our prevention efforts across Scotland I think we all need to ask ourselves, is there more I could do?
“The time to take action is now.”
In 2018-19, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service visited almost 70,000 homes across Scotland to offer free Home Fire Safety Visits.
During these visits, which prioritise the homes of those deemed most vulnerable and at risk, SFRS can help spot possible fire hazards, sort out a fire escape plan and provide information about smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms.
Trained staff can also help by suggesting other agencies who can help make sure residents are safe and protected in the home.
ACO Haggart added: “We have dedicated personnel across Scotland – operational firefighters, community firefighters and community safety advocates – ready to offer potentially lifesaving Home Fire Safety Visits.
“If you are 60 or over please contact us now. If you have a friend, relative or neighbour in this age group, talk to them about our free Home Fire Safety Visit service.
“You can even offer to contact us on their behalf.
“We want to reach every older person in Scotland - but we can’t do that without your help.
“Together we can prevent fires happening and protect older people across Scotland.”
Notes to editors:
A Home Fire Safety Visit can be organised at a time to suit, day or night.
To book a visit for you, or for someone you know:
call the freephone number 0800 073 1999
text ‘FIRE’ to 80800
or fill in an online form at www.firescotland.gov.uk.